Ariana Grande and the Subject of Vulnerability in Video Games

grande

Over the past few weeks, I have been on a serious Ariana Grande bender. Though I’ve been a fan of hers since she released the trap-pop bop “Everyday“, her new album Thank U, Next has been playing from front-to-back in my headphones almost non-stop.

As much as I love every song on that album, one cut on the LP particularly stands out. Track 2, titled “needy”, speaks to the very core of how I approach the subject of love word-for-word, as flawed as it might be.

I’ma scream and shout for what I love
Passionate but I don’t give no f****
I admit that I’m a lil’ messed up
But I can hide it when I’m all dressed up
I’m obsessive and I love too hard
Good at overthinking with my heart
How you even think it got this far?

– Ariana Grande, “needy”

Having listened to this song about 100 times in a month, it got me thinking about the medium of video games. Are there any video games that I’ve played that speak to me in that same way? That cut right down to the very core of who I am, warts and all?

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Hip-Hop Week | Def Jam Rapstar and My Hype Man Dreams


Hip-Hop Week continues on In Third Person! From Flava Flav to Migos, the hype man is an underrated role in a rapper’s crew. This is the story of how I got to live out my hype man dreams.


Like normal fans of hip-hop music, I’ve had dreams of being a rapper, producer, DJ, and breakdancer. But there’s another occupation in the world of hip-hop that I’ve always wanted to be that weirds people out every time I share this with them.

I’ve always wanted to be a hype man.

I’ve wanted to be the Flava Flav yelling, “********** you and John Wayne!”. Or in 90s terms, I wanted to be Puff Daddy, standing behind the Notorious B.I.G., punctuating his lines with chants of, “Whoo!” or, “Uh huh, yeah.” Or in modern times, I wanted to be one of the guys in Migos screaming, “Skrrt!”. My fascination with this role manifests itself in the car every time I drive. Sometimes, instead of singing or rapping along to a song, I’ll just ad lib over it. Even for songs that don’t make sense, I’ll do it. That scene in Carpool Karaoke where Migos is ad libbing over “Sweet Caroline”? That’s been my life for years, and I apologize to my wife for subjecting her to this every day.

A few years ago, during a night in with friends, I got to share my hype man talents to the world thanks to Def Jam Rapstar.

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Celebrating Hip-Hop Week at In Third Person!

“It was all a dream! I used to read [Gamepro] magazine!”

My love of video games is well-documented here on In Third Person. However, another one of my passions is hip-hop music. As a kid, I fell in love with the boom bap, studied the older records before my time, and have kept a close ear to where it’s gone ever since. For a time, I was even making my own beats and I dabbled in rapping for a bit, though the less said about my rapping, the better.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll drop one post per day covering different places where my love of video games collides with my love of hip-hop. Until then, pack your cardboard, rehearse your pre-written raps to make sure they sound like freestyles, and come back tomorrow for the boom bap!

It’s Valentine’s Day! Here are some of my favourite love songs!

I don’t talk about this much here, but I’m the biggest sucker for love songs. Even before I got to an age where my voice started to change, they always struck a chord in my soul to the point where they might have actually had a negative effect on my development as an human being. To this day, I have sappy tendencies and love songs will always illicit a strong reaction from me.

Since today is Valentine’s Day, and I don’t feel like making gaming-related content to celebrate it, let’s talk about love songs instead! It was going to be a list of five, but I couldn’t help myself and I added a few more. Here are a few that always get me in my feelings!

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Game Soundtracks I Want to See in Concert

In the past, I have had the privilege of watching Video Games Live twice and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess once. All were fantastic concerts that brought my favourite video game music to life. If more video game soundtracks went on tour, what would I like to see live?

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Anatomy of a Great DropMix Song

Playing DropMix over the last few weeks has gotten me to think about music in a new way. This card game with digital elements allows players to mix bits and pieces of songs together by simply placing instrument cards on the board. Want Ed Sheeran to sing over the bass line of LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It”, the synth strings from Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, and the drums from Rick James’ “Super Freak” while all mixing together in perfect harmony? Simply play the four cards and watch DropMix work its magic.

Having said that, not all DropMix cards or DropMix songs are created equally. In one of the expansion packs we bought, there’s a Beethoven card that’s seemingly impossible to work with. Certain other cards, such as the drums from “Radioactive”, seemingly work with everything. This got me thinking: going beyond personal preferences such as artist and genre, what elements make for a great song in DropMix?

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DropMix Review

Always at the forefront of music and rhythm games, Harmonix teams up with Hasbro for DropMix. This innovative card game aims to give you unprecedented control over music, allowing you to mix-and-match bits of different songs in order to create intricate mashups and mixes without any prerequisite skill in music. Beyond its free-form mixing mode, DropMix comes equipped with multiple game modes that provide structure to the experience.

Does its music-mixing tech work as advertised? Do its modes of play add value to the experience? And should you take the plunge for DropMix and its expansions?

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Top 7 Songs from the Tetris Effect Soundtrack

When I’m not glued to the TV playing Tetris Effect, I’m pumping the game’s soundtrack into my ears every chance I get. Even pulled out of context from the game, I’m enamored with the vibes that the music provides. Until we get the official soundtrack, YouTube user Nazo No Hito has done the world a favour and uploaded the entire soundtrack running in theatre mode. I tried to make a top 5, but I couldn’t in my heart of hearts cut the list any shorter. Here’s my top 7 songs from the Tetris Effect soundtrack!

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When Can We Get the Tetris Effect Soundtrack?

Tetris Effect works brilliantly as one cohesive experience, but if I were to isolate one aspect of it as standing out, it’s the music. Adding Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s taste for electronic ambiance and international rhythms works wonders for creating the synesthesia that occurs when playing the game. As soon as I finished up my first stream with the game, the first thing I did was to find the soundtrack online. I need this in my ears even when I’m not playing the game. The news I found was…disheartening.

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Check Out My New Project: Jett’s Playlist!

I started a music blog!

Jett’s Playlist is my new home for all things related to music. While I am no stranger to bending the content strategy of this site to speak about things outside of gaming, I feel like I have a lot to say about one of my favourite interests that would throw off what I’ve built here.

If you have any interest in checking out my thoughts on music, head over to Jett’s Playlist now! Right now, there’s a piece where I rank the four pre-release songs from Taylor Swift’s latest album, Reputation. For content like this and more, join me on my new blog!